Military service is a shared sacrifice. To safeguard security and liberty, the nation asks armed forces members to put themselves in harm’s way—sometimes at the price of physical injury and emotional damage, a price often shared by these individuals, their families, and communities.
Adler University’s fully online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology degree program draws on our longstanding expertise in military cultural competency and commitment to social justice, producing psychology and mental health professionals with the specialized training to work effectively with active-duty military, veterans and their families. Online program graduates will be able to offer compassionate, evidence-based approaches to issues such as suicide, substance use and dependency, physical abuse, and the lingering effects of moral injury.
Nearly all of our faculty members are veterans, experienced military professionals with firsthand understanding of this unique culture and a deep commitment to Adler’s mission.
A comprehensive online curriculum immerses students in every aspect of mental health and the U.S. military, including operational psychology in the military, the psychology of conflict, trauma and loss, mental health law in the military, understanding the VA healthcare system,
and much more.
This online degree program is ideal for active-duty military personnel, veterans, retired service members and military spouses who want a new career, people currently working in military-focused support programs, and counselors and therapists who are interested in pursuing this specific field of study. Candidates are able to continue their existing professional and personal commitments as they complete assignments and coursework around a flexible online schedule.
All of our online programs are delivered with the academic rigor and personal attention that has distinguished Adler University for more than 60 years. Earn your Military Psychology master’s degree fully online from an institution that shares your values of social justice and community-based solutions.
Graduates of Adler University’s online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology program are uniquely prepared to enhance the lives of active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families. Upon completion of this online graduate program, students will be able to perform the following critical counseling and research functions:
- Assess and improve the overall mental health of military personnel, veterans, and their families, including use of risk assessment tools for combat-related stress.
- Explore prevention and intervention approaches that address suicidal ideation and/or alcohol and drug abuse.
- Evaluate how the military interacts with larger social, organizational, cultural, and technological systems.
- Provide research and evaluation for purposes such as selecting recruits for the armed forces and determining suitability for service.
- Perform analysis on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions to determine procedures that can save military and civilian lives.
- Enhance the training and leadership outcomes of noncommissioned and commissioned officers, especially as it relates to personnel management and organizational behavior.
Adler University’s fully online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology is a 37 credit-hour program. Courses are eight weeks in length, and this program can be completed online in just over two years with scheduled breaks.
The M.A. in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology online program is offered in the following sequence of classes, including a final capstone course:
This course will specifically examine the social service and behavioral health systems that are responsible for providing psychiatric, mental health, substance use, and family care for those who are serving or have served, and their families. Following guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) the course will promote an understanding of promising, best, and evidence-based practices in suicide prevention, mental health, and substance use treatment. Students will learn about both government and nongovernment social and behavioral health services and programs (such as veterans courts and veterans homeless programs). They will also learn about strategies to increase appropriate use of various reimbursement methods and Department of Veterans Affairs resources.
The capstone project will be the culminating product of the Research Methods Course, and a comprehensive review of programmatic learning. As such, it will include a summary of scholarship and practice related to an issue or phenomenon of primary interest to the student, and a proposal of future research to add to knowledge in this area.
Psychology and mental health professionals with specialized training in military counseling and combat-related mental health issues are in high demand in both military and civilian settings. Graduates of Adler University’s M.A. in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology online program can choose from the following career paths and more (please note that additional training requirements may apply):
- Medical Service Corps Officer
- Behavioral Health Specialist
- Mental Health Technician
- Military Research Psychology Assistant
- Family Support and Advocate
- Behavioral Health Educator
- Sexual Trauma Advocate
- Military Gender and Diversity Officer
- School Veterans Counselor
Joseph E. Troiani, Ph.D.
- Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Fielding Graduate University
- M.A., Clinical Psychology, Fielding Graduate University
- M.A., Health Services Administration, Governors State University
- M.S.S.I., Strategic Intelligence, National Intelligence University
- B.A., Psychology/Sociology, Northeastern Illinois University
- Post-Graduate Fellowship, Illinois Public Health Leadership Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Diploma from the Naval War College, College of Naval Command and Staff
- Certified Relapse Prevention Specialist, Center for Applied Sciences (CENAPS)
- President of the Illinois Psychological Association
- President, Chicago chapter, Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
- Vice President, Board of Directors, Mental Health America of Illinois
- Vice President, Board of Directors, Illinois Council on Problem Gambling
- Director, Behavioral Health, Will County Health Department
- Chief Financial Officer, Board of Directors, The Tahoe Institute, California
- Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired), Naval Reserve Intelligence Program
- Instructor, Crisis Intervention Team Program, Chicago Police Department
- Faculty, National Defense Intelligence College, Washington, D.C.
- CEO, Community Psychiatric Center Inc., Old Orchard Hospital, Illinois
- Psychologist, Illinois Youth Center, Illinois Department of Corrections
- Consultant/Trainer, Center for Applied Sciences (CENAPS)
- Director, Training and Organizational Development, Employee Resource Center Inc.
- Consultant/Trainer, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
- Administrator/CEO, University Hospital, Chicago
- Consultant/Trainer, Employee Assistant Program, Occupational Program Systems Inc.
- Trainer, Illinois Prevention Resource Center
- Administrator, Care Unit of Parkside Lodge of DuPage, Parkside Medical, Lutheran General Hospital, DuPage County, Illinois
- Program Consultant, Norridge Nursing Center, Illinois
- Therapist/Trainer, Seven Springs Health Resource Center, Forest Health Care Systems
- Director/Supervisory Psychologist, Addiction Program and Education Center (APEC), Loretto Hospital, Chicago
- Program Advisor, Drug Free Project, National Association of Music Merchants
- Biofeedback Therapist, Psychosomatic & Biofeedback Clinic of Chicago
- Consultant, Illinois Central Community Hospital
- Program Coordinator, Alcoholism and Drug Treatment Program, Forest Hospital, Illinois
- Trainer, RAP Center, Department of the Army
- Staff Psychologist, Outpatient Mental Health Clinic, Loretto Hospital, Chicago
- Rehabilitation Counselor, Drug Cure Program, West Side Veterans Administration Hospital (now Jessie Brown VA Medical Center), Chicago
- Alcoholism Counselor, Chicago Alcohol Treatment Center, Grant Hospital of Chicago
- Psychiatric Aide, Department of Psychiatry, Grant Hospital of Chicago
Areas of expertise, academic & research interests
- Clinical psychology
- Military psychology
- Substance use disorders such as alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions
- Behavioral health administration
- Behavioral health disaster response
- Political psychology
- Strategic intelligence
- Operational psychology
- Psychology of terrorism
- Police psychology
- Relapse prevention
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- APA Society for Military Psychology (Division 19)
- Illinois Psychological Association (IPA)
- IPA Military Psychology Section
- International Society of Political Psychology
- Mental Health Summit, Illinois
- Public Policy Committee, Mental Health America of Illinois
- Illinois Joining Forces
- Illinois Certification Board, Inc.
- Illinois Council on Problem Gambling
- Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP)
- Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award for Advocacy, American Psychological Association, 2015
- Military Hero Award, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, 2015
- Mental Health America of Illinois Program Innovations Award 2013
- Defense Meritorious Service Medal
- Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
- Joint Service Achievement Medal
- Navy Achievement Medal
- Joint Meritorious Unit Award
- Navy “E” Ribbon
- National Defense Service Medal (two awards)
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Armed Forces Reserve Medal (third award)
- Navy Pistol Marksmanship Medal (Expert)
What experience do you bring to the Military Psychology program?
I have 45 years of experience as a mental health and substance abuse counselor, clinical psychologist, and behavioral health programs administrator, including serving more than 32 years in the U.S. Navy Reserves. I have taught graduate-level classes for the past 35 years.
What types of prospective students would benefit from this program?
The Military Psychology program is appropriate for a wide range of professionals, including military service members—active duty, Reserves, and National Guard. This includes enlisted behavioral health specialists in all branches of military service, medics and corpsmen, allied health professionals, military social workers, military clinical psychologists, officers and senior enlisted personnel in leadership positions, chaplains, and military substance abuse counselors.
This program is also relevant for professionals at government and military organizations:
- Civilian behavioral health clinicians and healthcare professionals working for the Department of Defense
- Behavioral health clinicians and healthcare professionals working for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
- Members of the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard
- Foreign military service members working in military healthcare programs
- Clinicians currently employed in the Veterans Health Administration’s healthcare system
There is also a place for mental health practitioners outside of government. Examples are civilian clinicians, counselors, and specialists employed in public, not-for-profit, or private settings that include but are not limited to hospitals, mental health centers, community health clinics, family and social services centers, the college system, and the criminal justice system.
How unique is Adler’s Military Psychology program?
One of the largest-growing fields in the area of behavioral health services is in the realm of military psychology. There are hundreds of thousands of troops returning to civilian life who are facing unprecedented challenges, whether that is reintegration into society or recovering from traumatic injury, while other service members are preparing for additional deployments.
Traditionally, the only specialized option for military psychology existed within the Uniformed Services University of the Health Services. Adler’s M.A. in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology program is a pioneering civilian-specific option.
What does ‘community’ mean in the context of this program?
In order to develop ethically competent providers in the realm of military psychology, our program focuses on the issues specific to those who are serving in the military, those who have served (veterans and retirees), their families, and their community.
Community engagement is achieved by developing a collaborative partnership with our armed services that fosters that community, works to decrease mental health stigma, and gives students a unique training opportunity.
To work toward equal distribution of resources, it is imperative that our program prepare students for client presentations as well as the command hierarchy—with resistance to mental health—that they will probably encounter while working with this population.
How do the concepts of social justice and social responsibility apply to Military Psychology? How is the Adlerian ideal expressed?
Adler University continues championing the work of the first community psychologist, Alfred Adler, by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice.
Our University values—social interest, pluralism, courage, excellence, and pragmatism—are woven into the program.
- Social interest: We are part of and invested in community, and we act and collaborate with compassion and social responsibility. In being involved in a community that has been engaged in military conflicts for the better part of the last decade, it is important to address the lack of competency in military psychology training that exists in social services, educational systems, behavioral health, and primary care programs today.
- Pluralism: We respect and celebrate human diversity and difference. We offer students a unique opportunity in training, as the military represents a diverse cross section of the population of our country. Military psychology involves work not only with our military personnel but also with their community and families as well as the veterans and retired military community.
- Courage: We encourage leadership, innovation, and creativity, act on principle, and challenge the status quo. There is no better way to support and honor the courage of those willing to defend our country than to assist them in their struggles after returning from combat. In striving to build a culture of innovation, this program takes the lead in filling the gap for military psychology services. While there is some change within the current status quo of mental health services within the Department of Defense, our program puts us at the forefront of fighting stigma and acting on the principle that all those in the military are entitled to mental health services with people who are specifically trained in their unique presentations in order to address their distress in life.
- Excellence: We embrace the highest level of quality, rigor, and integrity for education, scholarship, performance, and outcomes. There is no better way to strive for excellence and ensure leadership in the global context than through a program that serves to influence those in global leadership positions. Not only does this program train clinicians to work with our military personnel, but clinicians also work within foreign leadership systems to foster understanding and better support psychology in foreign armed services.
- Pragmatism: We are outcome-oriented and evidence-based, and we pursue real-world solutions and measurable results. Practical education for military psychology has immediate benefits and the possibility for immediate implementation. Our strategic plan states that “we are out to change the world for the better.” This program continues that trend of training within our school.
How are students supported as practitioners?
Our faculty provides support to our students and graduates in many ways:
- Career counseling. Our faculty is career-diverse, which provides students with opportunities to learn about the wide range of career options open to them.
- Letters of recommendation for our graduates entering doctoral programs or other master’s level programs.
- Passing on information about job opportunities.
- Providing job references for prospective employment opportunities.
- Introduction to the various professional organizations and advocacy groups that are related to students’ interests.
- Professional networking among faculty and graduates.
- Introduction to other graduates’ and faculty’s professional networks.
- The opportunity for professional collaboration on grants, publications, and presentations.
How is this a career-enhancing program?
For uniformed services members, both officers and enlisted, an advanced degree is critical for promotion or advancement to the next rank. The specialization in military psychology also is invaluable to the mental health specialist, counselor, or licensed clinician working or wanting to work with the military or veterans.
Is there a course you’d like to highlight?
Operational Psychology for the Military, which teaches students how to:
- List the dimensions of operational psychology applied in a military environment, evaluate the effectiveness of operational psychology in the military, taking into consideration both historical and current practices
- Summarize the history, ideology, and current manifestations of systemic inequalities and how they have historically reinforced themselves in the military environment on individual, interpersonal, cultural, and structural levels
- Analyze the integration of social justice in various aspects of operational psychology, including the equitable evaluation and consideration of social, political, and military-civil affairs
- American Psychological Association
- Illinois Psychology Association
- Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, Chicago Chapter
- Illinois Certification Board, Inc.
Program FacultyBart Buechner